Reflection: Mirjana Joković

The Essence of Acting
from TEDxCalArts: Performance, Body & Presence

“Who are you doing this for? Is it for yourself? Is it for the audience? Or is it something that belongs to the unknown?”

Mirjana Jokovic is an international film and theater artist, star of Underground (1995 Palme d’Or), and Director of Performance at CalArts. In “The Essence of Acting”, she speaks about the privilege, possibilities, and paradoxes of being an actor.

“It is about the process of discovery of who we are.”


About the Artist

Mirjana Jokovic was born in Serbia, where she began her career at eight years old on the stage of National Theatre in Belgrade. At age ten, she starred the film The Final Race. After establishing herself as a major acting force in TV, film and theatre, she entered the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. Her career then took off to include theater and film work in South America and Europe. In 1991 she moved to the United States, residing between New York and Los Angeles while filming in Europe. She starred in Underground, which won the Palme d’Or in 1995.  Mirjana’s domestic credits include number of US independent films and theatre productions, including Electra (Broadway), productions at ART in Cambridge, ACT Theatre in San Francisco, and the Sundance Theatre Workshop. She has been recognized in many film festivals and received numerous awards:

BEST ACTRESS: Yugoslavian film festival (1994, 1991, 1990, 1989 and 1988)
BEST INTERNATIONAL ACTRESS: San Sebastian Film Festival (1988)
BEST ACTRESS: Rio de Janeiro Film Festival (1988)

In 2005 she permanently relocated to Los Angeles where she began teaching acting at California institute of the Arts. In 2008 she became Associate Director for Performance, and in 2010 was appointed Director of Performance and Head of MFA Acting in the CalArts School of Theater.

About TEDxCalArts

TEDxCalArts was curated by Shannon Scrofano, Leslie Tamaribuchi, and Chi-wang Yang, with the assistance of students across CalArts.

TEDxCalArts and the CalArts Center for New Performance is a participant in the A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, funded by the MetLife Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre.

TEDxCalArts was created with TEDʼs mission statement in mind: Ideas Worth Spreading. The nonprofit TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently on a community-by-community basis.